31 August 2007

It ain't easy being a Thief

When you're a thief, you have to come up with all sorts of creative things to steal. Too much modern security on places that hold cash (banks, cash exchanges, supermarkets, etc) means strategies have to change, and you have to start stealing other things to make a living. And then this guy comes along:

Russian police arrest man for stealing a bridge Fri Aug 31, 5:01 AM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police have detained a 45-year-old municipal worker for stealing a bridge.

The 5-metre span metal bridge disappeared from a river crossing in the Ryazan region, east of Moscow. Police said they tracked it down to the man, who had used his work truck to remove it and then chopped it up and sold it for scrap.

In a statement, Ryazan region police called it "the bulkiest theft of the year".

Anybody want to help me steal Muharraq Bridge?

30 August 2007

Went for a Walk - 2

This post is a continuation of "Went for a Walk" (Click HERE if you haven't read it before). I'm going walking/jogging every two or three days or so, and decided to take a few more snaps yesterday. Sorry for the bad quality, it is a phone camera after all:

Busy traffic going into Manama, with Bahrain World Trade Center and the Financial Harbor looming in the background..

Bahrain World Trade Center, nearing completion..

The emerald green Financial Harbor buildings gleam in the sunlight..

A view from the corniche, with some kids playing on a profile model of Earth..

Work on Bahrain Bay and the remaining Bahrain Financial Harbor stages have managed to push this corniche pretty far inland. In some places, it doesn't even feel like you're walking by the sea any more..

Restricted? Really? Don't think I could enter even if I wanted to.

Hope you liked them :)

29 August 2007

Men Rules

This is a call out from me and all the other men in the world to you women. We love you, but there are some rules we need to lay down!


- Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way!


- Crying is blackmail. Don't do it.


- Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:

- Subtle hints do not work!

- Strong hints do not work!

- Obvious hints do not work!



Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.


- If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.


- If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.


- You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done.

- Not both.

- If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.


- Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.


- Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we.


- ALL men see in only 16 colours, like Windows default settings.

- Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a colour. Pumpkin is also a fruit.

- We have no idea what mauve is.


- If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.


- If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.


- If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.


When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine. Really.


- You have enough clothes.


- You have too many shoes.


- I am in shape. Round is a shape.


Thank you for reading. I realize that I might lose most, if not all of my female readers after this post. Humph...

28 August 2007

Lol @ Bahraini Waterpark

Well guys, its finally ready; this Monday, 3rd of September, the doors of "Lost Paradise of Dilmun Waterpark" will open its doors to the public, press, and everyone else interested in having a good bit of aqua-fun. The prices are supposedly kept under wraps, but as far as my insider sources tell me, tickets will be BD8 for children, and BD12 for adults.

The timing of the park opening is a bit off though, I guess. Schools in Bahrain start on the 4th, the day right after the park opens. Also, the opening coincides with the end of the summer period; wouldn't it have made more sense to open during the hottest period of the year? Well, I guess delays in completing huge projects such as this (almost $50 million) are inevitable.

Seriously though, I don't think this park was meant for the locals; if the prices are actually released as my inside sources state (ie, BD8 and BD12), then the average Bahraini won't exactly be able to afford it. I don't think your average BD400 bread-earner is willing to pay a good 50 or 60 dinars for a single day of water soaked entertainment for him and his family. I mean, I know many families who actually all get together to split the BD40 or BD50 it costs to rent out a swimming pool for a day.

Anyway, no complaints, i'm guessing the investors are looking for a good return on their investment, and charging any less isn't really going to cut it for them. Also, keeping the prices high ensures the quality of visitors doesn't drop below a certain level (ie, the level of people that manage to break and ruin everything because they find it 'funny').

The report states the park can handle upto 5,000 visitors a day (although I doubt it will ever reach that number), and the park is expected to bring in around 200,000 visitors a year. Doing a little bit of calculation, this means the park will be working at approximately 10% of its full capacity (ability to accomodate 1.8 million visitors a year, but only expected to bring in 200,000). Assuming all of these visitors are adults, this will bring in a good BD2.4 million in ticket income, which means the park needs to operate at this level for almost 8 years to re-coup its original cost, and this is without considering its day-to-day running expenses (salaries, maintenance, water costs, etc). I just wonder how good an investment this really is.

Anyway, I hope for the best; it has opened up the doors to another outlet for high-class entertainment in Bahrain. I really do feel bad for many of the locals, however, who know that such facilities exist yet find it very difficult to actually go out and spend a day or two of fun with their families; there isn't exactly a cheaper option available anywhere else (gone are the days of Qassari, Ain Athari, etc).

$50m water park to open
28 August 2007

THE $50 million (BD18.9m) Lost Paradise of Dilmun Water Park will open to the public on Monday, officials confirmed yesterday.Park sales and marketing director Mohammed Ali said the facility, believed to be the biggest of its kind in the Middle East, would be unveiled to the public following an exclusive media launch the day before.

Press from across the Gulf have been invited to the day-long event, which will include an opening ceremony and a tour of the park.

Further details, including ticket prices and timings, are being kept secret until a Press conference on Sunday.

The water park, which features some of the world's largest aquatic high-tech rides, is one of the main parts of the mixed-use $1 billion (BD378m) Al Areen Development Project.

It aims to provide a modern, hi-tech, family recreation facility that will also recapture the ancient history of Bahrain by integrating the Dilmun period into the park's theme.

Located near the Bahrain International Circuit, the park, which spans 77,000sqm, will be able to handle up to 5,000 guests per day.

The attraction is expected to pull in 200,000 visitors a year and will have about 20,000sqm for future expansion and car parking. It will help to create around 150 new jobs.

The park will include slides and pools, a family raft ride, a wave pool, a spa pool, suq, restaurants and shaded parking for up to 650 vehicles.

Fully qualified lifeguards will be based at every attraction and the park will also have a staffed first aid station as well as male and female prayer rooms.

It has been designed and will be operated by Malaysian-based company Sim Leisure Consultants.

Among its many features will be the Dilmun Artesian Spring, recreating the idea of Bahrain's ancient springs and replicas of Dilmun ruins will be set up with thatched shaded lounging areas.


27 August 2007

747 Landing

Ever driven on a road right next to an airport and seen a plane land? I've done it a few times since I live near an airport, and figured it was pretty scary at first, since it feels like the plane is just a few meters above you. Figures that was nothing; take a look at this - it's a 747 landing at St. Maartens, a carribean island. It's the smallest airport in the world that can actually accomodate a 747. Now this is kinda freaky:

Talk about close call! This isn't a one-off thing; this is how the planes land in this airport every day!

26 August 2007

Hawar for a Day

is·land (ī'lənd)
n. (Abbr. Isl. or Is. or I.) A land mass, especially one smaller than a continent, entirely surrounded by water.
Technically, living on an island should mean a large availability of beaches, and ease of accessability to them. Unfortunately, living on this pretty island called Bahrain, we seem to be faced with a lack of water-facing properties. If they're not commercial properties held by some sort of club, hotel or resort, they're usually in the hands of private owners.

Anyhow, in order to soak up the rays of the sun while lying down on the beach, one of your few options is to head over to Hawar islands. Now, although these have been open to the public for a number of years, I really haven't bothered going. Truthfully, I don't find the prospect of driving half an hour to get to a pier, then waiting another two hours on a ferry-ride to finally reach a beach an attractive idea; for me, a 15 minute drive to the airport and a 45 minute flight to Dubai makes a lot more sense.

Besides the point; my wife managed to convince me to finally go to Hawar for a day, and considering I needed a break from the day to day stress, I respectfully agreed. I wasn't expecting much, to tell you the truth, so here's a quick look at how it went:

After driving really fast down the highway and the tiny roads of Askar and Jaw to reach the pier JUST in time for the 1:00pm deadline (ie, when the boat was supposed to leave), we realized half the other passengers were still not there, and the boat wasn't going to leave for another 45 minutes. Blah. Anyway, wasn't too big a deal; this is Bahrain after all. The boat ride was smooth, and in a little under 2 hours, we managed to arrive on the shores of Hawar. Another 10 minute bus-ride and we were at the hotel.

The weather seemed a little bit better than back on the mainland, but obviously the lack of buildings, roads, cars etc dictated that it should. The view was reasonable; the hotel was beach facing, obviously, and had its own little bay. Swimming in this bay area was reasonable if you manage to ignore the millions of little shells and stones that make it feel like you're walking on a bed of nails. Swimming anywhere else outside this area feels like you're walking on a bed of mud filled with millions of little shells. Actually, you technically are walking on a bed of mud and shells. Back to the bay area it is.

Something funny I noticed; seems the Bahrain flag in the photo above hasn't been changed since Bahrain actually managed to win the court case and recieve jurisdiction of Hawar islands six years ago:

In general, the view was reasonable, although nothing really special. The hotel had the usual watersport facilities; jetskiing, paddle boats, kayaks, etc. I had also actually heard that there was a "waterpark" here somewhere; it didn't take long to find it:

Yup, it was just ONE water slide, that was it. Lol. So much for waterPARK. There were also the swimming pool facilities, which although not very big, were actually fun. Overall, the hotel doesn't occupy a huge area, but hey, if you're looking for a beach in Bahrain, I guess you have to make do with this. Oh, and there's also a nice big deserted boat in the sea for decoration. Nice.

I've been told the island is actually the habitat for a lot of birds. I mostly saw ducks:

Since the hotel faces the west, you're greeted with a nice view at sunset:

Not much to do at night, however. Besides more swimming in the pool or the beach, there's an acceptable buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant. We were also given a treat by the Filipino hotel singer, singing the Titanic theme tune, Gypsy Kings, a number of Bollywood hits and even Kadhem Al Saher (yes, this guy was multi-talented and sang in 4 different languages. He could also shake his hips in a manner that put Shakira to shame. Pretty impressive)

Only real annoyance was a bunch of drunk kids in chalet 117 right next to the hotel. If you're reading this, you know who you are! Now, the first time we passed by chalet 117 at at night, we noticed an open door with "Dagni Dagni" blasting (lets call it Arabic tribal music). As two girls walked on the beach near by the chalet, this guy stands by the door, butt facing outwards, and starts jiggling his big butt in a big circle in tune to the music. Now this guy is reasonably "big-boned", wearing just a pair of shorts, seems sort of drunk, and along with the ridiculous music makes quite a fool of himself. I wonder if he actually thinks the girls are supposed to find this (which I only assume is what he considers a mating call) attractive and run to his arms (butt?).

Anyway, a quick walk along the beach and back revealed that this wasn't a single incident. This dude kept doing this over and over, with the same ridiculous song on repeat. Next day in the morning, after passing by the chalet again, THE SAME BLOODY MUSIC WAS STILL ON. And guess what, the same guy stood by the door, as jiggling in a huge circle as any sort of female passed by. I was determined to get a photo:


Now that I think about it, I should have actually tried taking a video, because this photo really does not do justice to the amount of embarrasment this guy will face after he sobers up and realizes his butt is all over the internet.

Anyhow, a quick breakfast, a swim in the pool and then it was time to head back to the mainland; overall, it wasn't really too bad, but it wasn't great either. I saw a bunch of large groups of people who have managed to come together, and I guess that would make more sense for here.

Final note; if you want to visit Hawar, come in a big group, and you'll probably have a lot of fun. Otherwise, if you're looking for a nice beach to chill out on for a day or so, it probably makes more sense to get a nice little room at Novotel or so, fly over to Dubai, or enjoy a beautiful beachless summer :)

24 August 2007

Sign @ Salmaniya Hospital

Had to visit someone at Salmaniya Hospital today and managed to spot this:

Or as the Salmaniya staff might say, make sure NO SHARBS in bag!

Going to the Beach

Well, I decided I really need a bit of a break this weekend, and decided to head for the beach; so tommorow morning i'm going out to Hawar for a day of basking under the sun and doing nothing.

Which brings up a few questions; I want to go to the beach, isn't there any other alternative? I mean, we are living on an island. We have the Marina and Bander resorts, but technically, they're private areas and not accessible to your average joe, as well as a number of other beach hotels here and there. But no real public beach, unless you want to consider Bilaj Al Jazaer, or Hoth el Jaaf in Hidd, which hardly qualify as reasonable.

Why do we live on an island and find it tough to go to a beach? Why do I have to take a 2 hour boat ride to get to a reasonable one? Hummmm...

23 August 2007

They're Watching Us!

I just have to give a big thank you to Statcounter, because now I know BIG BROTHER IS OUT THERE, watching!

Lol, I see you see me!


I come across many photos browsing around the web, but this one really caught my eye. It's a view from a plane, taken of the clouds below; looks like it's on fire:

Was taken while flying over France during a storm.

Thanks to Michele for the shot.

Don't you have more serious issues to attend to?

Our lovely MP, Mohammed Khalid, has been running around for a while pushing efforts to free our Bahraini captives in Guantanamo Bay. All good and dandy. We appreciate your efforts, and I don't think anyone should be subject to the cruel trial-less ordeals of Guantanamo.

Now that five of them have been freed and back to Bahrain, life isn't exactly easy. I'm sure finding a job is difficult; considering a large number of degree holding energetic graduates find it hard to find a job here, a previously detained prisoner must find it even harder. I'm also sure some of them have families and need to financially support them. Great. Give them a small basic salary for now until they manage to secure a job, or save up enough to launch a small business to support themselves, and so on.

But Mohammed Khalid decides that, for all their suffering, they should each recieve BD50,000. That's 5 of them. Thats a total of a quarter of a million BD. Oh, and I guess he's also having thoughts about providing them with a job, as well as a car.

Well excuuuuuuuse me? I understand they have been subjected to torture and hard times, I understand they've been through a lot. I'm glad they're back, and I figure the government should have a hand in helping them support themselves until they manage to stand on their own feet. I figure a reasonable salary is good to help them out. Perhaps even some sort of housing, if needed.

Sure, some people went out and studied hard, paid for an education, can't find a job to support themselves, and remain unemployed for months. Some families have been waiting 10 years or more and still don't have permanent housing (let alone a subsidy from the government to help them out with rent and so on). But still, the released prisoners have suffered enough, and they should get all that; but not only that, they should get BD50,000 each. Many of our working population recieve 300 or 400 dinars a month. Let's even say 500; the total amount equates to around 8 and a half years of that salary. That's not exactly a small amount, and i'm sure there are a lot of other people out there who deserve this amount a lot more than some of these detainees.

Now, don't get me wrong, but i'm sure that at least some of these people were captured for a reason; emoodz.com talks about one of the detainees in more detail. Now, we're not even certain why they were captured, or very clear on their background and whether they are totally innocent. And they are suspected terrorists after all. I don't think they should be subjected to Guantanamo; I think they should be subjected to a fair trial, where all evidence is brought up, and then a decision is made. Now that they're back in Bahrain, everything they've ever done wrong, if any, will be ignored and they'll be treated like heroes, and given ridiculous sums of money they really didn't deserve in the first place. Especially if they did have some sort of involvment in terrorist activities (which we still aren't sure of).

I guess i'm angry here because i've had to work my butt off looking for a good job, save up enough money to build my own place, watch people around me (family and friends) deal with low salaries, increasing costs of living, housing problems, knowing that all of these people are very hard workers, who actually deserve a lot better. And i've worked on the front lines in banks where I see lots of poor people; citizens of this country who earn 200 dinars a month, 150 dinars a month, and some who recieve subsidies of only 60 dinars once every two months. And now we have MP's who, after doing very little to improve the welfare of our citizens, are planning on throwing comparatively huge sums of money at people who may or may not have had any involvement in certain terrorist activities?

Gimme a break! This was not why we voted for you!

Bay victims may get BD50,000
23 August 2007

FIVE Bahrainis released from Guantanamo Bay may each soon receive a BD50,000 grant from the government. MP Mohammed Khalid, who has been at the forefront of efforts to free the captives, plans to raise the issue in the next session of parliament, which begins in October.

It is crucial the men receive compensation for the suffering and torture they were forced to endure in the US prison camp and so they are able to financially support their families, he told the GDN.

"The government must give them something," said Mr Khalid.

"Look at what the government of Saudi Arabia has given Juma - a car, monthly allowance, help to find a job and get married."

Full Article

22 August 2007

A real Daad

Well well well. This Emarati citizen currently has 78 children, and is looking to reach a hundred within the next few years. And his name is Daad, which actually suits him very well, being an extended Dad (for 78 kids). Sorry, bad pun. Read for yourself:

UAE father of 78 eyes new brides for century target
Mon Aug 20, 11:17 AM ET

DUBAI (Reuters) - A one-legged Emirati father of 78 is lining up his next two wives in a bid to reach his target of 100 children by 2015, Emirates Today reported on Monday.

Daad Mohammed Murad Abdul Rahman, 60, has already had 15 brides although he has to divorce them as he goes along to remain within the legal limit of four wives at a time.

"In 2015 I will be 68 years old and will have 100 children," the local tabloid quoted Abdul Rahman as saying.

"After that I will stop marrying. I have to have at least three more marriages to hit the century."

The United Arab Emirates newspaper splashed its front page with a picture of Abdul Rahman surrounded by his children, the eldest of whom is 36 years old and the youngest of whom is 20 days old. Two of his current three wives are also pregnant.

Abdul Rahman said his large family lived in 15 houses. He supports them with his military pension and the help of the government of Ajman, one of seven emirates that comprise the UAE, which includes the Gulf trade and tourism hub of Dubai.

Islam allows men to marry up to four women at a time, though most marry only one. The UAE is a Muslim country but is home to migrants from around the world.

He must buy a lot of Pampers, then.

21 August 2007

Puzzle - 5

Since the last one was too easy, i'll give you one that's a little more difficult. Feel free to ask questions (yes or no answers), no cheating, and have fun!

Here we go!

A man leaves a motel room in the middle of the night, goes to his car, and honks the horn repeatedly. He then walks back to his room. Explain.

Getting a job in Bahrain

I've been faced with a lot of people who talk about how hard it is to get a job in Bahrain. Well, not actually GET a job; just getting a good one (there are a lot of crappy jobs out there).

The job process here takes a lot of damn patience, a lot of wasted time and effort, and gives a lot of disappointment, but if you put in the effort, hopefully you will be able to get something reasonable out of it.

First thing you need to work on is your CV. I don't want to go through all the details of how to write your resume, because that's just going to take a long time; but what i'll do is post some of the bigger mistakes i've seen in CV's that people have made:

- DON'T make your resume over two pages; seriously, unless you have 3 PHD's, tons of working experience, multiple awards, etc, no Human Resources manager is going to even bother looking at anything more than a page or two! If you're a recent graduate with one or two jobs of experience, one page is enough. Think of it this way; these guys recieve hundreds of CV's every week, they're not going to take the time to sort out through every single page you have. And if it's too long, they just might throw it in the trash.

- Please, frickin please, check for spelling mistakes! You will not believe the amount of CV's that get sent to HR with "Graduated from Univrsty of Bahrain" and so on. HR people just love to spot mistakes, laugh at them, and throw them out (if they can't do their CV right, you think they're gonna do their job right?). Just please, double check your CV with a dictionary. And a spell check. Oh, and a grammar check would be good too.

- Try to condense things in your CV into main points, instead of sentences. Don't write; I graduated last year in August 2006 from the University of Bahrain, with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing & Management, and a GPA of 3.2. First, it takes too much space, second, the hiring managers don't have time to go through every single sentence you write. Instead you can put:
Univ. of Bahrain, Aug 2002; Bs Marketing & Management (GPA 3.2)
It still passes on the same information, without taking up as much space.

- Please try to make it look neat and tidy! I've seen so many unorganized CV's floating around, where you can't tell what job they had, where, and so on.

Ok, so now you have your CV sorted out, it's time to apply. You need to apply EVERYWHERE. It doesn't matter if you have a specific place in your mind that you want to work at; you're probably not going to get that job, and you need to keep your options open, anyway. Print millions and millions of copies of your CV, fold them up and put them in envelopes, and run around from place to place applying everywhere you can think of, from the banks, to the universities, insurance companies, and so on. When that's done, try applying through email, and through the post. You need to totally penetrate the system; the problem in Bahrain is there's no set standard; some companies aren't advanced enough to look at email job applications, while others will think of paper CV's given in as backwarded and won't consider them, so you need to do it both ways.

If you have specific places you want to apply to, call up, get the name of the HR managers name, and write that name on the envelope you give your CV in with (or in the subject section of your email). This way, it goes directly to the person you want it going to, rather than be forgotten somewhere in the HR department.

Follow up a week later or so, give them a call, speak to HR; tell them you've sent in your CV and if anything has happened - this way, just incase someone has actually missed your CV, you'll either get them to find it and actually look at it, or perhaps they'll ask you to send it directly to them. Either way, it focuses a bit of light on your CV. And trust me, with the amount of CV's being given in every day, you're going to need it!

There are a lot more tips I can give, but again, I can go on with this topic for ages and ages. I hope the above tips help a little! Good luck on getting that dream job! (By the way, i'm not an HR person; I used to manage a branch and people used to come in and give me CV's all the time, so I would have a little laugh sometimes. Mean, I know.)

Puzzle - 4

Very easy one for today:

Three large people crowd together under one small umbrella, yet nobody gets wet. How is this possible?

20 August 2007

Wish I was here...

Wish I was here...

or here...


or even here...

But unfortunately i'm stuck..


Thanks to Valcyrie for the beautiful shots..

19 August 2007

Puzzle - 3


- If you've come across this puzzle before, don't answer and ruin everyone's fun.

- I will answer questions regarding the puzzle, but only if they can be answered with "yes", "no", or "not relevant".

- No searching online for the answer! Yes, that means YOU as well!

- Click on "Post Comments" to answer, or to ask a question about it. Here goes:

A man is sitting in bed. He makes a phonecall, says nothing, and then goes to sleep. What was the point of the call?

Last Week

Random thought;

Last week was composed of 7 days (as all weeks are).

Sunday through Thursday (ie, the working days) passed by REALLY SLOWLY. Just half-way through the week I was complaining about how the week was taking SO BLOODY LONG to pass.

Anyhow, the weekend came, and all was good. However, it passed by unbelievably quickly, and now i'm back in the office contemplating killing myself.

Why does that happen? Why do the really strenuous or boring parts of the week (or life in general) pass by slowly while the relaxing and enjoyable ones are over in the blink of an eye? Can't we somehow make them the other way around? Your thoughts appreciated.


I noticed something on my way to work today; nothing really out of the ordinary, but it strongly highlights the way our people think and react, and displays their attitude towards life in general.

On my way to work, I pass by a busy intersection. Four main roads crossing, with traffic lights on each one. Naturally during the morning rush, these roads get pretty busy; skipping a red-light is not exactly the safest activity during this time of day.

Well, a few seconds after the traffic light turned red on one side, an ingenious driver decides that his beat up Toyota Echo actually has enough horsepower to make it across to the other side without causing any sort of disruption in the traffic flow. Incorrect. He actually crossed as the opposite light turned green and the cars started moving, came within centimeters of his hitting his car, had to slam their brakes, blow their horns to display their anger, and probably curse the hell out of him. He went on his merry way, however, not thinking much of the situation.

Here's the part that got me thinking, however. As I saw him cross, after causing the huge disruption, he actually had a huge grin on his face; the passenger in the car with him also seemed to find this funny, and they laughed it off as they passed.

Not a big deal right? Got caught in a bit of a silly situation, and wanted to laugh it off?

Well, here's what I figure from all of this; total disregard for the law, no concern for the safety of themselves or anyone around them, and even when they manage to cause a potentially harmful situation, they couldn't care less. In other words, a total lack of any sort of responsibility, or sense of right and wrong. Unfortunately, this isn't a unique situation. This "I own the road" attitude is actually frightening; on your average day, just look around you while driving. If it isn't the speeding, dangerous overtaking, tailgating or so on, it's crossing red lights, U-turning where you're not supposed to, and so on. Even the small things like parking in the wrong spots and so on happens all the time. The problem is, a great number of people, especially those who have recently gotten their driving licenses, seem to think that as long as they don't get caught, there is no problem.

But this attitude isn't restricted to roads; it goes on to cover our general behavior, whether skipping a queue in a supermarket or a bank, trying to get something which we don't deserve, and so on. During my life, i've lived in other countries, i've seen citizens of other nations grow up learning that rules and laws are there for the general welfare of the whole, and are meant to be followed in order to benefit everyone. Why do we grow up and learn the opposite?

How has this attitude been instilled in us? Do we really think we are above the law and the rules that should govern our behavior from day to day? Should that guy really have been smiling as he crossed that light?

17 August 2007

Puzzle - 2

Since you guys enjoyed the last one, and since Captain Arabs' weekend is already ruined, there's no harm in posting a second one. Anyhow; rules again:

- If you already heard this one before and know the answer, DON'T POST IT! Don't ruin the fun for everyone else.

- You can ask questions about the puzzle, but i'm only going to answer them with YES or NO (or NOT RELEVANT if the answer won't affect the puzzle).

- Oh, and no cheating searching for the answer online. That's just lame.

It is a dark and stormy night. A man comes home to find his cat curled up in front of a cozy fire, dead. How did the cat die? (Btw, the cat was not burnt to death)

16 August 2007

Puzzle 1

Ok guys, you seem to have enjoyed the last one. Well, not enjoyed; it was too easy after all. Heres a little puzzle to get your brains working; if I get enough people enjoying it, i'll post more every now and then.


- If you've come across this before, don't answer and ruin everyone's fun.

- I will answer questions regarding the puzzle, but only if they can be answered with "yes", "no", or "not relevant".

- Click on "Post Comments" to answer, or to ask a question about it. Here goes:

A man pushes his car up to a hotel and immediately knows that he will have to pay hundreds of dollars. How does he know?


syug nuf evah .lol .ti tog uoy wonk lli dna 'desufnoc ton mi' sdrow eht htiw tnemmoc a tsop tsuj. esle enoyna rof ti liops tnod ,od uoy fi .egassem eht tuo serugif enoyna fi ees ot tnaw tsuj i ,stop siht ot tniop laer on

15 August 2007

Headline of the Day

I'm really amused as to how stupid some people can be:

Woman calls police about 'fake' cocaine
Mon Aug 13, 4:32 PM ET

ROCHELLE, Ga. - A woman was arrested after she called police to help "get her money back" after she was unhappy with the crack cocaine she purchased.

Juanita Marie Jones, 53, called Rochelle Police late Thursday night after she purchased what she thought was a $20 piece of crack cocaine, according to police reports.

She told officers she broke the rock into three pieces and smoked one, only to discover the drugs were "fake."

She took Officer Joel Quinn and Deputy John Shedd of the Wilcox County Sheriff's Office into her kitchen and showed them the drugs, police said.

She was promptly arrested on charges of possession of cocaine


Let's face it. We have a lot of clever people in this country, but most of them manage to go brain-dead as they grow older, because of the lack of a strong educational system to keep their brains active. We have a few good private schools, but others aren't so great, and the government school system? Well, no comment there. Many people in our society are ignorant, dependant, financially unstable, and so on..

Shouldn't we take a clue from somewhere like Singapore? In the late 1950's/early 1960's, the country was filled with problems like mass unemployment, housing shortages, racial tensions, and so on. Sounds familiar? Singapore was in a bit of a pickle, and the future didn't seem too bright.

Look at Singapore now, a little under 50 years later: a financial powerhouse, the world's fourth largest forex trading center (after NY, London and Tokyo), a huge manufacturing and electronics economy, is considered the most business-friendly economy in the world, and is currently the 18th wealthiest country in the world (per capita GDP).

Quite a change? Difficult to promote? Well, it was pretty simple actually; faced with a number of disasters (unemployment, housing, etc), the government didn't decide to try and tackle them one by one. For one, they didn't have the resources to fix them, and second, it would take a great lot of effort and knowledge, of which they had little experience. Also, any problems fixed would soon re-surface as you get an increasing population, time passes, etc.

So they thought long-term; let's build a strong education system, schools, college, universities. Let's provide the highest standards of education, so as the children grow, they learn how to cope and deal with the problems that exist, and will have the sufficient knowledge to fix them. They'll grow, they'll learn, they'll create jobs, businesses, sectors, they'll find solutions.

True enough, within one generation, the whole country was turned around. Within two generations, the country has become one of the most successful economies in the world. And by next generation, who knows where it will be?

Can we have some of that here? Some education? Some strong, quality education? Reform all the schools, bring in excellent teachers, audit our univesities, fix our whole educational system. We have smart people in Bahrain; most of them just go brain-dead under our current system, we need our people to be challenged, strengthened, given the tools to promote and advance. We need that to get rid of the corruption, the unemployment, the shortages, the ignorance..

Please.. Fix our educational system..

14 August 2007


This post is probably going to be pretty useless. I've receieved some bad news today morning which got me kinda depressed at first. A few hours later the depression has gone, and now i'm plain angry, so instead of breaking something here in the office and getting the replacement cost deducted from my salary at month end, i'm going to vent, rant, scream and shout about everything (not necessarily the thing i'm angry about, but just whatever comes to mind). Some of it might not make sense, i'm just screaming here. I'll try not to be vulgar.

So we started this Smart Card concept and we're full blast trying to get everyone to carry one. FOR WHAT?! No one has a reader yet, and the card is useless to anyone NOT carrying one; there's no address or anything on the front, and even the driving license part of it is not acknowledged by the traffic police. WTF?! Second of all, the process to actually get it is SO GODDAMN ANNOYING, AND the people working there are total IDIOTS! No, i'm not exaggerating; TOTAL FRICKIN' IDIOTS! And finally, can we really trust THESE PEOPLE with our data?! Keeping it private and safe? We are seriously screwed guys. And shouldn't we be thinking of fixing the other parts of the country still left in the dark ages before trying to advance? Go into the Ministry of Health and you'll see people still writing things down on pieces of paper. WHERE IS THE BLOODY TECHNOLOGY?! I wouldn't mind a 1985 IBM system at least, but NO! They don't even have that! WORK ON FIXING YOUR BLOODY PROBLEMS BEFORE TRYING TO ADVANCE; you can't run before you crawl, and shit, we're still on the verge of crawling. This is going to end up as such a HUGE disaster, I can feel it!

What's with this stupid country anyway? I mean, i'm trying to love it, i'm trying to be the kind of person who wants to help this country out, but what's the point? I'm pretty damn clever (not showing off here, but I am a damn genius, deal with it), why the hell can't I find a job working in some sort of entity that can actually benefit the big picture in Bahrain (ie, Economic Development Board, etc)? Why do lazy useless people get the job? I really want to make a difference but the stupid concept of wasta states that you don't have to be good to actually get a job, you only have to know someone. I AM NOT SUBMITTING TO THIS STUPID CONCEPT. This whole system is the reason we will never advance; you keep putting the idiots in the wrong places just because they have a friend or a cousin or whatever. HOW THE HELL IS THE COUNTRY EVER GOING TO ADVANCE if you don't take people based on how well they can perform a job? We have hundereds if not thousands of people stuck doing jobs where they're not being put to best use, and i'm not talking just about specific companies, i'm talking about almost everywhere, even the big guns like Batelco, NBB, the CIO, and so on. This country is going to the shits.

And the ROADS?! DAAMIIIITTT DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED! For a country of our size you would expect it not to be so difficult for one directorate to organize things, but again, this is BAHRAIN, EVERYTHING GETS F#$%ED UP! Does anyone notice the roads where the huge trailers/lorries drive on? Do you notice how unsmooth they are? They feel like they've got bumps in the actual roads; that's because the SHEER WEIGHT of HUGE trucks, mixed in with this UNBELIEVABLY RIDICULOUS WEATHER equals one thing; the trucks drive over them like they were butter. I almost had a bloody accident two days ago driving on a lane that's gotten totally screwed up; the steering wheel seemed like it had a mind of its own. And this is just on the cheap materials used, don't even get me started on organizing the traffic flow.

I read a line today on someone else's blog; about how Bahraini's have GREAT OPPORTUNITIES, but only OUTSIDE Bahrain. Yes, true. WHY THE HELL ARE WE SCREWED IN OUR OWN COUNTRY? Is it this shitty-ass political system that doesn't know how to represent its own people and the problems they have? SCREW TURNING INTO AN ISLAMIC STATE before you fix our problems! We need housing, we need money to cope with inflation and rising prices, we need transparancy to see where the funds we are supposed to have are going, we need corruption to be killed off. BUT THEY FOCUS ON SPRING OF SEX AND MANNEQUINS?! KISS MY ASS! We need to wipe out the entire slate of MP's bar one or two, and bring in REAL POLITICIANS, DOCTORS, ENGINEERS, ECONOMISTS, PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND the different sectors of our country and will KNOW how to contribute. DONT VOTE SOMEONE IN BECAUSE THEY PRAY 5 TIMES A DAY! You ask them how to improve our economy and they'll tell you to pray to God and INshalla it will happen. Yeah, that's exactly what we need.

That's it. I don't even wanna talk anymore. I need to leave this crappy country.

12 August 2007

Coffee Shop Stories...

He took another sip of his Latte as she walked in. He gazed.

No, he stared.

Stared at her as she walked through the door over to her friend, sitting quietly on a plush comfy sofa, playing around with her cellphone. He watched her friend get up to warmly greet her, three kisses on the cheek, in succession, left cheek, right cheek, and left again. Their voices rose as they asked each other how everything was, from college, to family, to friends, as if they haven't seen each other in years and years. Probably haven't seen each other for two days, he thought, but that's just the way our girls greet each other.

By now the coffee shop had somehow become filled with the smell of feminine perfume; a strong, yet nice, sugary scent. He took another sip of his Latte, and fiddled with a BMW keychain as he stared. She was an attractive girl, definately; besides her striking features, her shaila fell back to reveal her long, silky black hair; Herbal Essences washed, probably. As she put one leg over the other, her dafa slid to reveal a classy pair of red heels, and some nice looking jeans. She placed her Prada handbag to her side as she conversed with her friend.

He took another sip of his Latte, and pulled back his sleeve a little to reveal his Movado watch; she's a classy girl, she'll surely be able to tell that it was anything but inexpensive. Please look this way, he thought, please notice my watch. Notice my BMW keychain, my Gucci wallet. Notice me, i'm rich, i'm classy, i'm the type of guy you want to be with.

She noticed.

But just for a second. She turned her head away in a manner so non-chalant he should have almost become dissapointed; but he didn't. He knows this is how they play their game, these women. They want to be with him. He knows the want to be with him.

He kept cool, calm, composed. He looked away, as if he didn't care, never cared. But he knew she glanced with the corner of her eye; after all, besides looking well-off, he was actually a pretty handsome and well-dressed fellow. Clean shaven, except for his exceptionally defined goatee, his thoab strikingly white, while the ghitra on his head sat perfectly. So perfectly, infact, that you would think he was trying too hard.

He was trying too hard. The Movado watch was paid for by a credit card whose payments have long been overdue. His BMW car was on loan. He spent his time preparing at home; shaving, ironing his own thoab, getting ready for this evening out, hoping he would get lucky. Little did the girl know he didn't have much more in his bank account than could get him to buy a few days worth of Starbucks coffee.

But she didn't know; how could she? He had it all, she thought. He had the watch, the wallet, the car, and insignificantly, he also had the looks.. He had also glanced, stared, looked at her, and she knew how attractive she was. He wanted her. She knew he wanted her.

He took another sip of his Latte as he picked up his phone; it was time, she thought. She fiddled with hers. Menu, Connectivity, Bluetooth, On...

Abraj Al-Lulu

I'm considering buying an apartment here; anybody have any advice, suggestions, comments? 2 bedroom apartments go for a little under BHD100,000. They should be ready by sometime next year. Seems Bahrain is moving into the whole "buying concepts" issue; you buy something before it's ready and you have no idea if it's going to turn out good or otherwise. Riffa Views has been snapped up by more than 50%, Amwaj, Marina West, etc.. Sigh.

10 August 2007

Dreams & Reality

Naturally, most of us dream (ie, while we sleep at night). Now, while we're actually dreaming, we're somehow swallowed into a different world of mixed realities, subconscious thoughts, and bits of imagination put together; it's all fake, something created within our minds. However, while we dream, everything seems so real, and our brain has a tough time comprehending that whatever is around us isn't actually in existence.

Ever had those dreams? Everything seems wierd, and some of it doesn't make sense at all (ie, a person who died 10 years ago might be right infront of you, or suddenly you live in a mansion with 100 maids and own 20 Bentleys). However, whilst in your own mental hallucination, you believe it. When you finally do wake up for a few seconds, you don't know what was reality and what was fiction, until your brain goes back to thinking right and you figure, oh damn, what a dream.

What is it about our dreams that allow them full control of the perception of reality? I guess that's too deep a question for me to venture into, so what i'll share with you is a VERY wierd incident that recently happened.

I've been dreaming a lot lately for some reason; random dreams, no real sense can be made from putting any of them together. However, even though some really wierd things do go on in them, I somehow completely percieve them to be real while I dream them. When I wake up, I kick myself; How the hell could I not have figured out it wasn't real?

So I guess with time, I started questioning their authenticity, while dreaming. I see wierd things and start asking myself, real or not? My brains calculations, however, always seem to conclude that everything around me feels so real that there is no way this could be a dream.

So I wake up, once again and kick myself. How could I NOT have known?! But yesterday it got wierd; While in the middle of a dream, I looked around, and somehow managed to figure out that, hey, everything here can't be real! This seems to not make sense, and neither does that... and... DAMMIT! IM DREAMING!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen; I finally managed to do it. I figured out I was dreaming in the middle of a dream. However, the consequences weren't the greatest:

As soon as it hit me, I got scared. Actually, slash scared; I got terrified. Not sure why exactly, but I think it might be the realisation that I don't actually exist. This was actually some sort of figment of my imagination; everything around me was a figment of my imagination. Anyhow, I was terrified, and all I knew at that moment in time was "I have to wake up". I kept trying, harder and harder, just telling my mind, wake up, wake UP! It was freaky.

I woke up.

I was covered in sweat; something about this dream made me freak out above and beyond your average nightmare. Terrifying. Needless to say, that's probably the last time I try questioning my dreams.

Anybody else want to share their dream experiences?

9 August 2007

A bit of a re-touch

Just finished re-touching the whole blog; i've sort of incorporated both my website and blog together (they were previously two separate entities), and forwading the domain name after a whole lot of DNS issues, masking, forwarding etc. There are still a few bugs here and there but i'll be working them out over the next few days. You can see the main links above (ie, blog, gallery, etc), so use them to look around (still being updated, so they might be missing things here and there). If you find any dead links, please let me know.

I started using the whole blogger.com platform to host instead of updating HTML files all the time (I write the code directly instead of using Frontpage or other programs, so sometimes it becomes a headache).

Anyway, the main point is you can now come here directly through ammaro.com. Thanks for popping in!

8 August 2007

Funny Commercial

I just found this commerical; an old one I watched ages ago, but still brings some good laughs. Enjoy :)

Another Evening in Juffair

She looked at her eyes in the rear-view as she re-arranged her shaila, just enough to show a little bit of hair, but not enough to give it all off. Infront, a Qatari LandCruiser with huge tires and an oversized antenna waited in the traffic. Her Motorolla phone rang, so she took a quick look left and right, just to ensure there were no muroor around, then answered; it was her friend, waiting for her. She told her she was looking for a parking spot and hung up. A Lumina with two boys passed by her, their stares burning into her; thank god for 01 raybon, she thought. It might not be much, but at least it helps. Her lane was semi-blocked with traffic, while the opposite lane was open, with cars creeping by; mostly boys, who really made an effort to turn their heads and look, to see one of the few females driving down at this time of the evening. She was an attractive girl, for sure, but she kept composed, even with the seemingly un-endless boys gazing at her.

Ah, perfect; the rear-lights of a parked Corolla just turned white, signalling it will reverse, clearing up the pavement for her car. She waited as the owner slowly moved his vehicle, being careful not to scrape the bike parked so close to him, and trying to maneuver not to bump her car. After what seemed like an eternity, the Corolla was on its way, giving a thank-you horn as he left, and the parking spot was all hers. A little paradise in a huge desert of cars, traffic and noise. She stayed in her car a few more minutes, fixing her lipstick and eye-liner, applying her blusher, spraying unbelievable amounts of Calvin Klein perfume, and again fixing her shaila. Yes, she was finally ready for another evening at Starbucks, just another evening in the world of Juffair..

A friend who wants to be famous

I have a friend who wants me to write about him. Don't know why, but I guess he's looking for more fame. We call him Mo Black Z (because he used to drive a black Z28 camaro, oh, and he's black too). He likes to refer to himself as Phenom (as in phenomenon).

Um, what else.

Yeah, we nickname him brownie, because he looks like a fat juicy brownie. And he's married girls, so back off.

Thats all.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully i'll have a useful post here tommorow, instead.

(EDIT. I'm also adding Eddie, nicknamed Designo to this post, since he saw Phenom's brand new exposure and fame, and got jealous. So, yes, here we have a pink blonde with a Viper, Ed.)

Fixing your Money Problems - 9

Part 9: (Paying off Loans & Credit Card)

If you already have loan and credit card debt, pay-day might be both a blessing and a curse. It always feels good to have your salary credited to your account, but looking at all the deductions and money you have to pay for your debts, just makes your salary seem like it wasn't worth it!

Now, when it's time to pay off those debts, you need to prioritise; some people have a number of credit cards, and more than one loan. For banks, time = money, which is the concept of interest; so the sooner you pay off your debts, the less money you're going to end up being charged for overall.

How do you prioritise? Well, your most important goal here is to know as much as you can about your debts. Most people take on debt without knowing the specifics of each loan, credit card, etc. Unfortunately, the sales people at our banks aren't obliged to tell the customer these details; the information they seem to best divulge is how much money you get, and what you pay per month. All other details get lost in the sale.

First thing you're going to need to know is how much interest you are being charged. Interest rates vary from bank to bank; some mention a flat rate, some mention a variable rate etc, and this rate is calculated differently; so when one bank says, we charge you 2% on your credit card, another bank says were charging 8% on your loan, and another mentions 5% on a loan, in reality, the cheapest interest might actually be the 8% (the 5% is calculated on a flat basis, and the 2% calculated monthly, so they end up higher than the 8% rate).

Without going too much into detail about the specific calculations of interest rates, you need to get a standard interest rate calculation so you can compare between different banks. This is usually called an APR. Just ask for this rate; banks have to give it to you if you ask for it, and it's basically a uniform calculation including all charges and costs.

Anyhow; figure out what each of your loans/credit cards are costing you in interest per month, and aim to pay off the highest charging ones first. In almost all cases, your credit card will end up costing you the most, so you need to dedicate as much money to paying that off.

Credit cards charge you a minimum balance which is usually 5% or 10% of the outstanding amount. To really make a difference, try to at least pay double that. Sure, you might have less spending money that month, but the sooner you get rid of your credit cards, the quicker you're going to be able to start living a beautiful debt free life again. Make sure you pay on or before the due date every month, because late payment charges are usually reasonably high. Also, DO NOT USE the credit cards after you pay them off. If you really can't handle the temptation, hide them somewhere at home, or get a pair of scissors and cut them up.

Second; paying off your loans. Loans are structured payments; the bank has already made a plan on how they will take back their money with interest, and they're not usually willing to change that for you unless they make you pay extra fees first. You can't go in to most banks and tell them "I have an extra 100BD in my account, please use that to deduct part of the loan". What you're going to need to do is save up enough money and pay off the loan all at once.

First you will need to find out the basis on which your bank is charging you interest, and if any of it will get deducted for early payment. Say you take a 7-year loan; for some banks, if you pay it off after 3 years, you're only going to be charged interest for those 3 years, and the remaining period interest will get deducted. Other banks might not; they might charge you the interest for the full period regardless of whether you pay it off early or not. In the second case you're pretty much screwed whether you pay the loan now or later, but in both cases you're going to need to find out how your bank works. Information is what's important here, get as much of it as possible in order to make your decisions.

Again, like I mentioned in previous posts, PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS FIRST! Do not go out and spend money on shopping, etc, and then decide to pay off debt with whatever is left, because by then you probably won't have much, and your debts will increase and your interest will increase with then. Debt can turn into a monster if you don't control it the right way. I know the issue of debt is usually very difficult for most people to deal with, so again, if you need any direct help with your specific issue, you can shoot me a message and we can talk about clearing up your personal situation.

Not your average sea-rescue


AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A giant, smiling Lego man was fished out of the sea in the Dutch resort of Zandvoort on Tuesday.

Workers at a drinks stall rescued the 2.5-metre (8-foot) tall model with a yellow head and blue torso.

"We saw something bobbing about in the sea and we decided to take it out of the water," said a stall worker. "It was a life-sized Lego toy."

A woman nearby added: "I saw the Lego toy floating towards the beach from the direction of England."

The toy was later placed in front of the drinks stall.

Original Report

"How" and "Why" are the only things that are on my mind here..

7 August 2007

Don't miss the SALE!!!

It's sale period all over again; shopping time! I can just picture the customers fighting over every single last piece at this very popular Seef Mall store; that's an amazing discount they're giving:

Idiots on Bahrain roads

They seem to be getting worse day by day. Just today morning, I was driving a good 100km/hr or so on an 80km road. Naturally, it seems that this speed isn't sufficient for everyone and there has to be some sort of idiot who sticks to your butt and keeps trying to get you to move out of his way. Now, there are cars on the slower lane, so I can't exactly move out of the way, so he stays stuck to my back bumper. The road was semi-busy so I decided to ignore him; I couldn't turn, and I was already driving faster than the speed limit after all.

After a minute or so, I started to approach traffic stopped at a red light. I had about 200 meters or so to stop, so I started slowing down; the guy behind me decides this is the perfect time to overtake and speed up, although the cars were very obviously stopped right in front of us...

And so he turns, speeds up and overtakes me, and drives right into one of the cars stopped at the red light :S It wasn't a very serious accident since he did slam on the brakes at the last minute, but it caused considerable damage nontheless.

I'm sorry to say, but we have a bunch of real idiots on the road. Besides delaying himself from whatever the hell he was late for (or was he just driving like an idiot for no reason?), and putting himself through the trouble of having to sort out the insurance, take the car to get it fixed, etc, he just burdened other people with the same problems through no fault of their own. Thankfully there were no serious injuries caused in this situation, but there could have been.

Can we find a solution for people who are careless and wreckless? With the increasing number of idiots on the road, any suggestions would be well appreciated.

6 August 2007

Bahrains Summer of FUN!

There's some sort of event (معرض) or something going on at Bahrain Exhibition Center; I think its called Bahrains Summer of Fun, loosely translated (فعاليات صيف البحرين). It's more like a little bazzar with lots of small shops selling all sorts of stuff (clothes, foods, etc), as well as a big play area for kids, with some sort of ice-palace or whatever it is. Anyway, decided to pass by since yesterday since I was in the area and had an hour to kill..

There are a few rides placed there too; I had to take a photo of this one, I really couldn't hold myself:

If you're squinting your eyes trying to figure out what that is... Take a closer look!

Wow. I wonder how the kids can handle all that excitement.

5 August 2007

Funny Bahrain

When you live in this country long enough, you get so immersed in the way of life, and assume that the way we do everything here is the normal way to do things. Whenever someone comes in from outside the country, and starts pointing out things that seem weird is the moment you start to find that our way of living is actually pretty funny. This isn't a nagging or complaining post; just a few things I realized were amusing, having taken them for granted previously.

A friend of mine from the US stopped by in Bahrain for a few hours on Friday night, through a transit flight. I picked him up to show him a few of Bahrains wonders, and somehow managed to reach a bunch of funny conclusions. The first happened about 30 seconds from leaving the airport. My friend casually said, "Oh, so you have elections going on now?"

At first, I had no idea what he meant, but then I saw what he was looking at and couldn't help bursting out in laughter; huge billboard after billboard on the side of the road pledging allegiance and loyalty to our beloved PM, thanking him for his great effors, and congratulating him on his achievements. It did look a bit silly, to tell you the truth, and when I explained it all to him, he didn't get the idea. I told him to just accept it; we already have a long time ago.

Then he saw the way people drive; i'm used to seeing people take-over very dangerously, speed by on the slow lane, skip red lights and so on, but when my friend saw it, he got freaked out: "How do you guys drive here!?!". Even back in New York, where drivers are supposedly very aggressive by US standards, they don't drive like we do here. I considered taking him for a cruise in Saudi, but then figured that would probably be too cruel.

Anyhow, during his few hours here, I took him for a spin in Seef Mall to see the people of Bahrain, a drive around Adliya and Exhibition Rd, had dinner in Juffair, and finally some sheesha in Veranda. His few hours were up, so I took him back to the airport to catch his flight. He did enjoy his time here, and it changed his original perceptive of Bahrain (being an empty little desert island with not much to do). But then I thought, what if he had stayed more than one day?

I had taken him to a shopping mall, the streets we cruise around in, a gahwa (coffee shop) and restaurants. That's almost everything we have to offer! If he had stayed for longer, the second day, third day, fourth day and so on would be the same routine all over again; just different coffee shops and malls and restaurants! We really don't have much to do here! Lol.

Oh, and one more thing; when we were eating dinner, he finished, got up and took his food tray to the bin and threw the rubbish inside, and placed the tray above the bin (as we see restaurant staff do here). The funny thing is, one or two of the customers looked at him wierd, as well as the woman who worked in the restaurant (ie 'what is he doing?!').

I guess I just realized that we, as Bahrainis or Khaleejis in general think we are so much higher than actually having to get up and throw away our own garbage. Lol. I remember I used to do it when I first got back from the US (since it becomes an inset habit when you live there for a while), and people just look at you wierd when you do something like that.

Anyway, it all boils down to our way of life; keep a lookout for our regular habits and way of life, and you just might find a smile or two in your daily routine! Gotta love Bahrain!

3 August 2007

Bahrain Indoor Ski-Resort

They'll never stop fighting like children over a bar of chocolate:

Ski Bahrain Iceberg Tower - SkiBahrain.com

Bahrain has announced the development of another multi-million dollar attraction, representing a first for the Middle East with a US$175 million indoor ski resort.

The concept involves the construction of a 1.5 kilometer ski-track in a multi-storey building with a total area of 150,000 square meters. The tower, to be called the Iceberg Tower, will be built on an island south of the Sheikh Hamad Bridge between Manama and Muharraq.

It is a unique idea to facilitate indoor-skiing on the island and will strengthen the Kingdom's objectives of becoming the Gulf's sports entertainment centre, while building on the Formula One project. Facilities will be provided for skiing, ice climbing, snow-boarding, ski-jumping and sledging.

Being built in two phases with final completion expected in 2009, the project will also include a convention hall, science park, ice-sculpture park, arctic zoo, shopping mall, medical centre and seaside resort.

Ski Bahrain Website

Again with the Gulf SO CALLED COOPERATION Council bashing each other! When will our countries learn to complement each other to benefit, rather than always fighting over the same thing?

Dubai started with building luxury hotels and tourism resorts, so instead of building things that would complement Dubai, EVERYONE in the area decides to copy it! We have luxury resorts being built in Bahrain, Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar etc.

Bahrain builds a Formula One track; a first for the region. Soon later Abu Dhabi decides to build one! And Qatar is considering building one as well!

Tallest tower in the world, in Dubai? Nope, Kuwait wants to take that title. No, Bahrain wants it. And so on.

Now a bleedin' ski resort in Bahrain? We already HAVE THAT in DUBAI! Instead of fighting over the same things, why can't the minds here work together to secure complementing products and services? What happened to the word cooperative in the Gulf Cooperative Council?

Put your minds together, and turn the GCC into a big strong community. For example, someone can find a hotel in Dubai, and use shuttle flights to go to Bahrain for a Formula 1 race, or Qatar for a business meeting, Kuwait to shop, and so on. This way, everyone can benefit, and benefit well! Stop killing out each other for the same things!

How Safe are our Roads?

It's not exactly news that our roadwork system isn't the most effective in the world. Whenever a budgeted amount goes towards building something, somehow the final spent amount doesn't always equal that. Where does the rest of the money go? Who knows..

Anyway, situations like that result in delays in construction, as well as compromises in the final product; just as an example, let's talk about the Bukuwara Road. This road (in Riffa) is a busy one, full of shops, restaurants among other establishments, and also seems to be the 'hangout' for a lot of teenage drivers who just got their driving licenses (and some people who are a little older, too). Just stand on a spot in the road and watch the same people come and go.. come and go... come and go...

But anyhow, that's not the point. The point is that for years, this road wasn't in the greatest shape, and renovations were finally planned. The road was filled with road-works for around a year or so, and when done, the final product seemed to look good; straight roads, no pot-holes, new pavements, etc.

A few weeks after the road was completed, I passed by there with a local Riffa resident. I spotted this:

What is that? Turns out that there were two thick metal sheets covering something in the road. As cars kept crossing over it, one of the sheets budged to reveal a hole in the road; a good 1.5 or 2 meters wide, and pretty deep:

So my friend went to explain that a substantial amount of the money that went into renovating the roads sort of got lost in someones pocket along the way, and eventually the road was rebuilt using a lot of "shortcuts". A few days ago, part of the road just collapsed, leaving a big hole in its place. The next day, the workers came to fill it in.

A few days later, another hole materialized. Again, they filled it in next day. And then another..

These holes are pretty big; a car can get stuck in one of them. A little child can fall in them and get hurt pretty badly. It's pretty scary that our public infrastructure can be compromised because of someones greed; a lot of harm could come out of this.

So now I look at the collapsed bridge disaster in Minnesota, USA a few days ago and think; this could very easily happen here. How often are our bridges looked at to see how adequate they are? How much has their structural strength been compromised because of similar conduct by our officials?

Just imagine, Seef flyover collapsing? Or one of the Muharraq Bridges? Hamad Town/Riffa flyovers? I'm also pretty sure our rescue services aren't as capable of handling big disasters as the US services are.

Building; what a headache

A friend once told me "If you ever want to curse someone, don't tell them to go to hell, or hope God curses them for all eternity or whatever. Just wish that one day they're going to build something (ie. ان شاء الله تبني)".

I figured a bit of a headache always comes along with construction and trying to build a house, villa etc, but now I know the true meaning of what my friend said. The past 10 days or so, i've actually being doing a little renovation. I previously lived in a rented apartment, which is fine until you realize you're paying your landlord more than a generous amount to get accomodation on the dark side of 100 meters sq.

So anyway, at my family's villa they hardly use the bottom floor, which comes full with two living rooms, a big hall and two more rooms, as well as the kitchen and bathrooms. Aside from the kitchen, most of these rooms are hardly ever used, so I decided to go ahead and turn part of it into an apartment. It isn't supposed to be a lot of work; a bit of painting, moving furniture around, setting up a partition or two to divide the 'apartment' from the rest of the house, re-doing the bathroom, etc.

Well, so far it's been around 10 days and I swear I have the biggest headache; between running around following up whether the painter has managed to come in, scrape the walls and paint, and why the carpenter decided not to show up today, the electrician re-wiring some of the connections, the furniture removal people delivering my furniture and setting it up; add to that the fact that I have to go to work every day and stay till 5, so all my time after that is spent working on the renovation, and my weekend is spent entirely sitting here trying to make sure it all goes right. Well, let's just say I wish no one else has to go through with this; the thing is, this was supposed to be such a small task, so God help you if you're actually building a full house!

Anyway, a little under 2 weeks later and the place is almost done and ready; i'll post some pix when it's all finished and this nightmare is over!

2 August 2007

Oh No!

This is from todays Gulf Daily News Newspaper. The last page.

PLEASE tell me i'm not the only one who finds something deeply disturbing about this headline????

PS. You probably won't get it if you don't speak arabic. (or know a few of the swear words at least)

Only in Iraq

Just got this by email. At first I thought it was going to be a sad one; ie, a funeral procession or something similar..

But then...


For the Love of Foreigners

Why is it that a lot of our companies in Bahrain seem to love hiring foreigners as senior staff? Managers? Chief Exectutives? Hire them over Bahrainis when there is no real added-value to hiring a foreigner? Hiring certain nationalities is considered a benefit in Bahrain (especially Americans, British, Australian etc), when in reality they might not be anymore ideal for the job than a Bahraini person?

This post might hit a note with some people; I'm not trying to be racist at all with this, so don't get me wrong, but it seems there is some sort of twisted mentality at work here.

It's always good to bring in outside experience; people who have been exposed to different or bigger markets, more advanced situations, and the sort of work-experience that doesn't exist and probably cannot be found internally within the country. I mean, we're a developing country after all; we have fast-growing banking, insurance and investment sectors, we have developing businesses and growing factories, among other companies/sectors. We NEED experience from the outside world to help us develop, to teach us what we don't know. We need experienced people.

But that doesn't mean that you should favor a foreign worker over a local one, for no reason besides them being foreign.

We have many locals who are both hard workers, smart, as well as pretty well equipped to handle senior positions, holding a truck load of experience to boot (sure, we have some lazy incompetent people as well, but that's in every society). Why are some companies hiring foreigners who are comparativley less qualified to do the job? People who actually screw things up rather than improve the situation?

I'm not aiming this at all foreigners here; we have a lot of people who have benefited us tremendously. I've personally benefited quite a bit from a previous foreign manager. However, just because a person is foreign; British, Canadian, etc, does not mean they will excel at their job, and is no basis to hire a person on.

This mentality seems to have followed from the days of the "white-master", when Bahrain was actually a under British rule. Somehow, it seems wrong to think of a Britsh (or even America, Australian, Canadian, etc) person in Bahrain working a low to medium-size job. Nope. Has to be a managing or senior position. Living here you get so brainwashed, that when I went to the US and an "American" person served me at a restaurant it didn't click for a second. Anyhow..

A bank I used to work at has started ditching its "almost completely" Bahraini staffed policies, and resorted to hire more and more foreigners. No harm in that; we could bring in some pretty knowledgable people to share their experience and benefit the institution as a whole. Let us bring people from booming financial centers; Singapore, London, New York? They must definately have gained a lot of experience through working at a global financial center; exactly what we need in Bahrain.

But no. For one of their senior positions, they decided to hire a South African. I have no problem whatsoever with bringing someone in from a specific country; however, this person seems to lack the correct understanding of the society in Bahrain to be able to do his job well (ie, the kind of job where you need to know the Bahraini people, and deal with them directly). Customers expect to meet him, chit-chat a little, maybe talk about families, people they know, who know people they know (you know how small Bahrain is). Him on the other hand, does business only. So far he has been in the post a little under a year and I haven't heard anything besides complaints from all the staff I know, and some of my old customers as well. Also, S. Africa is unfortunately fully of crime and corruption, and is hardly considered a financial center. Is he really going to bring much to the bank? I'm not really so sure.

Another person they hired for a full analysis of the banks situation was an Argentian. Again, Argentina; beautiful country. But with a very shaky financial system and a problem-ridden economy, how much can he really add to the bank? He did an analysis and from what I heard, the bank weren't too happy with it, but still, this person was given housing benefits, a totally over-exagerrated salary, every other type of benefit you can think of (utilities allowances, gym memberships, vehicle, golf club membership!), and in reality, the job could have probably better been done by a group of employees who have been in the bank 10 or 15 years, and know all that goes on internally.

Another issue that can be brought to attention here is the situation with Gulf Air last week; the Chief Executive decided to suddenly quit and leave, after just 4 months of being hired. Obviously he didn't like what he saw, and at the same time he probably has no attachment to Gulf Air in any way. If it was a Bahraini, or at the very least someone who lived in the region, he might feel more of a responsibility towards the airline; you don't just get up, leave, and put the airline on a hot toilet seat like that. Well, that's my opinion anyway..

This isn't a call for a full Bahrainization of all employees. Not at all. We need foreigners, we need outside experience. I'm calling for companies to at least look into how qualified these people are (and how effective they would be without being familiar with the environment) before hiring them over Bahraini people; just because they're foreign doesn't mean they're better!

1 August 2007


Elevators are fascinating objects. Its funny standing in an elevator when there are a bunch of other people around; everyone faces the front for some reason, like some sort of soldier, how come? Also, everyone seems to be trying to avoid eye contact, looking at the floor, their phone or their watch, and they're all quiet. Its really funny how extremely quiet people become; they try not to shuffle around or move just incase they make the smallest peep, that everyone will notice.

Today I walked into work, stood at the elevator waiting, and a few other people came. About 5 people were standing when the doors opened, we all crammed in. Everyone pressed a button except this guy who was on the far side of the elevator, and the door closed; since I was next to the buttons, I asked him which floor, and he mentioned in a very soft quiet voice "ahem.. um... 3rd.."

Lol. Thats just hillarious watching people turn into little insecure beings in an elevator. Next time i'll try doing something funny, like fart (or at least make a loud farting noise).

That should get some funny reactions.

Sorry, this post was useless, I know. I have no point.